Snow leopard guide: habitat, diet and conservation

With their big, downy and blemish coats and tails, snow leopards are adorable cats, but they are besides impressive and awful predators able to chase and take down a range of prey species in unmanageable mountainous terrain. Their solitary confinement and elusive nature means they are much referred to as “ ghosts of the mountains ”. Snow leopards are region of the Panthera genus, related to the other big cat species : lion, tiger, jaguar and leopard. however, unlike these four species, snow leopards are unable to purr ! Our guide to the snow leopard looks at where they live, diet and how the species is threatened, plus conservation efforts to help them .
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How big is a snow leopard?

snow leopards are around 75-150cm from head to the base of the tail, with the tail adding on another 80-105cm, which makes them smaller than the other big cats. Snow leopards generally count between 25-55kg, although some big males have been recorded weighing up to 75kg .
Wild snow leopard in a blizzard in Pakistan.

What is the snow leopard’s scientific name?

The snow leopard ’ s scientific diagnose is Panthera uncia .
panthera is the genus of the true big cats ( leopards, lions, jaguars and tigers ), and the uncia partially comes from the Old French parole once, which was originally the name for the lynx .

Where do snow leopards live?

Snow leopards live in coarse, white, rugged alpine regions in central and south Asia. They can be found at elevations between 3,000 to 5,000 metres across a total of 12 unlike countries. The ideal coke leopard habitat is bare, dangerous, cold and depopulate – not most people ’ s idea of a decent place to live .
A snow leopard walking amongst snow and rocks

China

China is dwelling to possibly 60 per cent of the world ’ south population of snow leopards, with over 1 million km2 of the species ’ habitat spread across the far west and around the Tibetan Plateau. Since 2009 the jacob’s ladder Panthera has worked with partners including taiwanese NGO Shan Shui and the Snow Leopard Trust on research and community-based conservation activities in Qinghai, Sichuan and Xinjiang .

Hemis National Park and Ulley Valley, Indian Himalaya

A number of commercial companies run enlistment to Ladakh with technical guides and trackers, claiming sighting success rates of up to 50 per cent. UK operators offering dedicated snow leopard trips include Naturetrek ; Steppes Travel ; and Wildlife Worldwide .
Snow leopard (Panthera uncia) walking down snow covered slope, Hemas National Park, Ladakh, India

Nepal

An estimate 350–590 coke leopards survive in Nepal – one of the larger populations within the species ’ scope. A net of Snow Leopard Conservation Committees, established in junction with WWF, set camera-traps in distant locations, employment to reduce human–animal conflict through livestock-insurance schemes and protective corrals, and act as citizen scientists assessing populations .

South Gobi, Mongolia

The second-largest population of snow leopards – estimated at 500–1,000 individuals – survives by and large in the west of Mongolia. The Snow Leopard Trust co-ordinates conservation and research programmes, including livestock-insurance schemes run by the residential district. A long-run study in the South Gobi area has collared 21 cats to date, revealing valuable insights into demeanor deoxyadenosine monophosphate well as the size of their compass .
Snow leopardess on a rock

Wangchuk Centennial National Park, Bhutan

More than half of the land area of this minor Himalayan kingdom is protected. It hosts probably fewer than 200 coke leopards, but they are occasionally sighted during high-level treks. WWF camera-trap surveys of Wangchuk Centennial National Park revealed a population of snow leopards ampere well as Tibetan wolves, Himalayan serow and goodly numbers of blue sheep .

Do snow leopards live in groups?

Adults are lonely and only interact with other leopards during the reproduction season. Snow leopard cub will stay with their mothers for at least 18 months, but they may never meet again once they split up and start wandering the huge batch expanses independently .

How long do snow leopards live?

Although captive snow leopards can live for improving to 25 years, the life of a coke leopard in the raving mad is typically 15-18 years. They reach sexual maturity at 2-3 years old .
Snow leopard (Panthera uncia) walking through the snow

What do snow leopards eat?

bamboozle leopards are carnivores that actively hunt their prey, although they will besides eat carrion at times. Their most common prey is Himalayan blue sheep ( besides called bharal ), and a one meal will keep a snow leopard going for two weeks .
other food in a snow leopard ’ s diet may include siberian ibex, markhor, Himalayan tahr, argali, deer, horse and camel. When they can ’ t find bombastic prey, snow leopards will besides take smaller animals such as voles, marmots and pika .
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How do snow leopards walk in deep snow?

Snow leopard paw are furred and enormous, giving these big cats inbuilt snowshoes that spread their torso weight more evenly across the snow. The elephantine paw besides help muffle the legal of their drift and protect their toes from the barbed cold.

Snow leopard on a snowy mountain

What do snow leopards use their tails for?

A snow leopard ’ second thick, metre-long tail assists with libra – crucial when cresting specialize ridges, hunting prey on difficult terrain and negotiating punic crevasses. A rest bamboozle leopard can besides wrap its tail around its body like a scarf joint for excess heat .
possibly most amazingly, the reason bamboozle leopard tails are therefore slurred is because they use them for fat storage to help get them through lean times .
Snow leopard walking down a snow covered slope in Hemas National Park, Ladakh, India. © Ben Cranke/Nature Picture Library/Getty

Why do snow leopards bite their tails?

The simple answer is that we don ’ t very know. One theory is that biting their tails help to keep a bamboozle leopards warm in their cold natural environment, but other people think it ’ s just an example of maneuver behavior .
A fluffy snow leopard tail (Panthera uncia)

How do snow leopards cope with the cold?

A snow leopard ’ sulfur nose is well adapted to deal with the cold – a short but across-the-board rhinal cavity heats the freeze air anterior to it reaching the lungs .
Snow leopard (Panthera uncia) standing regally on a snowy hillside

How far can a snow leopard jump?

These cats are able to jump adenine far as 15m, and can take down raven three times their own weight. possibly most impressive of all is one of our favorite snow leopard facts – they can jump 6m vertically, senior high school enough to reach the gutter on an average two-storey sign of the zodiac .
Leaping snow leopard (Panthera uncia)

Can snow leopards roar?

Unlike most other bad cats, coke leopards are unable to roar because they have different, less develop outspoken chords. snow leopards make a range of other noises, including hisses, grumble and mews, not unlike your typical domestic kat ( just a bit forte ) .
Snow leopard (Panthera uncia) cub

How easy is it to see snow leopards?

Because they are such elusive creatures people living within their range and studying them frequently refer to them as the ‘ ghosts of the mountains ’. Snow leopards are besides exceptionally well camouflaged by their smoky grey fur with dark rosettes and spots – arrant for blending in among rocks and talus slopes. Woolly, milky fur comprising 12cm-long outer hairs keeps the belly warm arsenic well as aiding in disguise on terrain of mix snow and rock .
It would be identical easy to look directly at a coke leopard from a distance and have no theme it was there at all .

How do snow leopards cope with the high altitude?

A large, brawny breast allows the leopard to take thick breaths that help it to absorb oxygen from the thin, high-level tune. Scientists had always assumed that snow leopards would have more efficient hemoglobin than other cat species, enabling them to more efficaciously transport oxygen around their bodies in their rake. But this was recently found not to be the case, then beyond breathing hard, we merely don ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate yet know how snow leopards survive so well at elevation .
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A superbly camouflaged snow leopard on a desolate mountainside

Are snow leopards endangered?

The stream violent snow leopard population is around 6,000, but it ’ sulfur heavily to make an accurate appraisal as coke leopards tend to live in extremely inaccessible areas and are notoriously unmanageable to see. Snow leopard numbers have declined by 20 per cent in the last 20 years due to to poaching and habitat passing. coke leopards were previously classified as Endangered on the IUCN Red List, but were reclassified as Vulnerable in 2017 .

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